- Only two pro golfers are now members at Augusta
For all the famous Green Jacket wearers, like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Condoleezza Rice, just two current members are professional golfers – six-time Masters winner, Jack Nicklaus and recently retired Champions Tour player, John Harris.
- The dawn of the Green Jacket tradition
It’s the most famous jacket in golf, but did you know that the tradition began when members started wearing green jackets in 1937 to make themselves easily identifiable to patrons during Masters week? Jackets were first purchased at Brooks Uniform Company in New York and stitched at Hamilton Tailoring outside Cincinnati where it’s said to take around a month to complete each three-button, single-breasted blazer.
In 1949, Sam Snead became the first golfer to be awarded a Green Jacket for winning the Masters tournament.
- From Fruitland to Parkland
The Cathedral in the Pines is one of golf’s most-hallowed turfs but before it was turned into a golf sanctuary, the land boasted a 365-acre Fruitland Nursery. Together, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts identified the property as the ideal one for golf, and took out a $70,000 option to buy the land. Jones and Scotland’s Alistair Mackenzie went about realising the vision in 1931 before formal play was officially opened in January 1933.
- Augusta emerges from its shady past
For all the things we know and love about Augusta, it’s never been a leader in diversity and change. That said, the club has attempted to right the wrongs of its murky history and invited its first Black member, television executive and proud African-American, Ron Townsend to the club in 1990. Augusta’s stance came after Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club refused Townsend membership on the grounds that their club was for white members only.
- A fresh starter
In another positive step for Augusta, this April will see Lee Elder join Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter on the Thursday morning of the tournament. In 1975, Elder became the first Black man to play in the Masters and on the 45th anniversary of his ground-breaking appearance, Elder was invited to join Nicklaus and Players at the traditional curtain raiser to the year’s first Major.
- Three bridges inside Augusta
At Augusta, the easiest way to get over something is to build a bridge, with three erected and dedicated to past legends of the course. Perhaps the most famous is the Hogan Bridge, commemorating Ben Hogan’s then record score of 274 in 1953, that helps players to the often pivotal 12th green at Golden Bell. The Sarazen Bridge on the 15th hole honours Gene Sarazen’s 1935 albatross while Nelson Bridge on the 13th tee was built to mark Byron Nelson’s heroics on holes 12 and 13 on his way to winning the 1937 Masters.
- How Amen Corner got its name
The three-hole stretch known as Amen Corner can see Masters hopes sink or swim, numbers 11, 12 and 13 guarded by a swirling breeze overhead and Rae’s Creek on land. On a wing and a prayer, Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind penned the magic words, Amen Corner in reference to an old jazz recording called “Shouting at Amen Corner”, perhaps a nod towards the famous roars that ring musically through the pines as hopes fly or flounder come the back nine on Sunday each year.
- What a young Tiger served up to past Champions
Tiger Woods took the golfing world by storm when he raced to his first Green Jacket in a record-breaking 12 stroke win at just 21-years young in 1997. Tasked with picking the menu for the following year’s Champions Dinner off the back of the success, Tiger stayed true to his age, serving up a smorgasbord of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and milkshakes to Nicklaus, Player et al.
- Bringing Augusta to the world
The 1967 Masters was a ground-breaking renewal, becoming the first live sporting event ever broadcast to an overseas audience. The BBC beamed pictures of the game’s best playing Augusta National live, the venue capturing the imagination of a worldwide audience and forever changing the golfing landscape as we know it today.
- It pays to forget
Only one winning Green Jacket has avoided being locked up on site at Augusta National and that belongs to three time Masters champion, Gary Player. The wily South African kept “forgetting” to bring his 1961 winning jacket home to Augusta. If you want to see it today, it’s on display at the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida.